Surfing was introduced to Japan after World War 2 when American soldiers were stationed in Japan and brought their surfboards. They introduced surfing to the Japanese and from there the Japanese surf culture began. The Japanese being the people who they are had surf culture, but combined it with their own culture as well. Now the Japanese surf culture is huge and Yuta Sezutzu is one of the best loggers in the country. Bringing in a more class, traditional approach where style is more of an emphasis then doing as many cutbacks on one wave. Wanted to also congratulate Yuta and Ryo for opening their new shop “YR”! Hope to surf with you guys in Japan or Taiwan soon!
Who are you and where are you currently right now?
Yuta Sezutsu from Taito Chiba Japan.
When did you start surfing?
When I was 10 years old, I started surfing.
How did the surfing culture in Japan start?
After World War 2, a few U.S Soldiers stayed and lived in Japan. In early 60s’ they started surfing around Shonan,Kamakura,Kamogawa,Taito area. They introduced surfing to the local people and groms. Those areas called are where the surfing culture started in Japan.
You mostly ride single-fin longboards. How did you start riding those types of boards?
I use to ride a shortboard when I started surfing for the first 6 months. One day, Seitaro Nakamura came to my local beach and show me some smooth step work on longboard. I was just shocked. I felt it like that was what I wanted to do from then on and want be like him. And over the past 10 years from that day, I’m still in love with riding a longboard.
What is the feeling you get when you are hanging ten on your longboard? Any
advice for people how to walk on the nose?
FLOW. I don’t know but it is pure of fun. Only good noseriders knows that feeling. So everybody wants to make a noseride right?
For people that are starting out surfing. What advice do you have for choosing a surfboard?
Visit local pro shop. Ask about good surfboards. Check price and if you could buy, just do it.
When people are just starting to surf, there are a lot of rules beginners don’t understand. Can you explain some of the basic rules that people should know before they get in the water.
Rules are different which country, local and surf point. So visit near pro shop from beach where would you surf and ask about local rhythm and vibe. And be humble to everybody and have a share waves mind.
You recently got married to your wife, Ryo Bay, and opened up a surf shop in Chiba called “YR” can you tell me more about your shop.
We are basically doing Surf Shop, Lunch Plate & drinks and longboarding school. We have minimum surf products at our Surf Shop. We sell organic and local rice, bread and veggies for lunch plates as well as good coffees and smoothies. And I am doing longboarding school almost every day. This school like more seminar style. For people like “I can take off and stand but I don’t know how to walk” levels. Now there are a lot of good select shops in Japan, mostly in the Tokyo area but those customers want to level up too—Many Japanese really focus to level up so good to fit my school style for customers. Anytime welcome Taiwanese surfers for my school!! hahah
Since running a surf shop, can you tell me how important it is for customers to not be afraid to enter a surf shop and talk with the employees about surfing? What is the importance of a relationship between surf shop and surfers?
Always be afraid to start a new thing. But if you really want to try surfing, you have to start and enjoy talking with employees of the surf shop and also local surfers. But yes I could feel a little bit scared to enter to surf shop for the first time. So we are serving food & drinks. Cause customers could have a reason to enter to surf shop. But anyway that is not big problem.
Growing up in Japan there must have been a lot of focus on school when you were younger. Taiwan is just the same for younger kids growing up. How did you balance school and surfing?
I did not care about balance school and surfing. And I did not focus to study in school. But because I am a pro surfer right now, when I got a JPSA pro license, I was 14 years old. My friends, 99% of them went to high school but I did not go there and instead I moved to beach side and to focus more on surfing.
The Tsunami of 2011 hit Japan and devastated the country, hitting a major Nuclear Plant and causing it to spill nuclear waste into the ocean leaving tons of radiation along the coast of Japan. How did that affect the Japanese people and surfers and what are the Japanese communities doing to stop new Nuclear Reactors from being built?
Only a few people care about nuclear things. TV and news does not tell about that problems so people going to forget about that matter. So only surfers and a few people who loved ocean community are trying to stop to build new one and spreading information through the Internet and also demonstrations. But those are really small tool to influence the larger population.
What advice to you have for the Taiwanese who are also trying to prevent new Nuclear Power Plants from being built.
Only to keep fighting. No advice from me.
Japan already has a long history in surfing dating back to the 1960s. Taiwan is just slowly building up its history. What importance does understanding your culture and roots have to you?
If you do not know who grew an apple before you eat it, that taste is normal. But if you know who grew, how it’s grown, where its grown, before you eat it, there is a more emotional relationship to it and it is a lot tastier. Same thing as in surfing.
You have a strong relationship with Joel Tudor. Can you tell us how your relationship started and how you started to ride his surfboards?
One of my best friend Harrison Roach introduce him to me in Noosa around 2009. And first time I went to Duct Tape Invitational in Virginia he (Joel Tudor) checked my heat and after he said give me a couple surfboards.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
I don’t know what meaning surfing is to me me. If I knew it I might quit surfing? haha Surfing = living so surfing keeps me alive.
Where is your favorite surf spot?
Nokita Fukuoka Japan. Home sweet home.
Do you have any recommendations for Taiwanese surfers who want to go to Japan to surf?
Hokkaido and Kyusyu. Those place have a great waves with good culture about food and other stuffs.
What is your current surfboard quiver and which board have you been riding the most recently?
5’10quad and 9’5 Santa Ana model by Tudor Surfboard.
What can we expect to see from you more in the future?
Surfing with smile